Say What? 12 Tips on How to Improve English PronunciationThu, 11 Nov by Kunal
Proficiency in spoken English is highly critical for any individual to succeed in life. Clear communication skills involve proper pronunciation of words, that is, being able to speak clearly with appropriate articulation and intonation. Teaching pronunciation to kids at an early age helps in improving English pronunciation while their grasping power is at its peak. Improving English pronunciation skills is necessary to avoid communication break down and misunderstandings. English may or may not be your native language; however, the goal is to learn the correct pronunciation that is as close to the original accent as possible.
12 Tips to improve English pronunciation
Converse At Your Own Pace
You may hear someone else talking fast and fluently in English, but do not try to copy them. You will only end up deteriorating your pronunciation skills. Slow down so that you get time to think before speaking in English and focus on enunciating. Regular English conversation for children is necessary to get them into the habit of speaking in English and working on clear pronunciation.
Learn With Syllables
Most words are made up of two or more parts called syllables. One of the best pronunciation tips is to break words down by asking your child to place their hand flat just below their chin. Now ask them to slowly pronounce a word, for example, 'aer-o-plane,' which contains three syllables. Each time the chin touches the hand, that's a syllable. With this technique, your kid can easily learn how to pronounce English words correctly.
Observe The Movement of Your Mouth
While practising English pronunciation, start noticing how your lips, tongue and mouth move. For example, to say a word starting from 'th' like 'thief', bring your tongue in between your teeth and push the air out of your mouth. You may need to put in a lot of conscious effort at first, but you will get used to it with practice.
Imitating Appropriate Models
Children learn from what they see or hear. So, encourage them to watch British English videos, shows or movies. They can also listen to podcasts, audiobooks or songs to improve English pronunciation skills. While doing so, your child will try to imitate the model, hence aiding the process of learning correct English pronunciation.
Use English Pronunciation Dictionaries
These dictionaries offer English pronunciation help by breaking down the word to show what it sounds like. The Google pronunciation tool, for example, gives visual as well as auditory pronunciation of any searched word and provides multiple options like British pronunciation, American pronunciation, Indian English pronunciation, etc. Other excellent dictionaries to use are Merriam-Webster, Oxford's online dictionary and Collins dictionary.
Play Fun Games
As the saying goes, 'All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,' why not have some fun while improving English pronunciation skills? For younger kids, you can sing nursery rhymes and enact the words while paying attention to their pronunciation. For older kids, try Chinese Whispers or the Jazz Chants game. This will make them used to the sound and rhythm of the English language.
Read Bedtime Stories for Kids
Who doesn't love a fun and exciting bedtime story? Reading a story with your kid at night will not only arouse their curiosity and transport them to a wonderland, but it will also help them hone the English language. You can also watch a bedtime story video together or listen to an audio story to add those extra sound effects.
Practice Adding Stress to Specific Words
Often, we say the same word differently according to what sounds right. But did you know that there are rules that help us understand how to stress different parts of a word to use them in different sentences? For example, the noun 'ADDress' is the place where you reside, whereas the verb 'addRESS' is to speak to someone. According to a common pronunciation rule, most two-syllable verbs are stressed on the second syllable, while most two-syllable nouns are stressed on the second syllable.
Have Fun with Tongue Twisters
Remember the tongue twisters that were often a part of the fun activities at any party? Well, turns out you didn't master all of them for anything. Tongue twisters for pronunciation is a challenging yet entertaining way of improving your English-speaking skills. They will help you with similar-sounding words like 's' and 'sh'. For example: She sells seashells on the seashore."
Put YouTube to Good Use
Today's kids are not unfamiliar with YouTube. It is most probably also used in virtual schooling and online courses. You can leverage the same and put on some good video podcasts or other guidance videos related to English pronunciation to help your kids learn useful techniques for improving English pronunciation skills.
While communicating, you intend to ignore some obvious pronunciation mistakes. So, record yourself and then listen to your own voice to find out where you are faltering, and which words need improvement. Make a note of these words and practise pronouncing them more by using a video camera so that you can see what you speak.
Grab a Learning Partner
It's always easier and more beneficial to practice with a buddy who also wants to learn how to improve English pronunciation. You can find a learning partner for your child either in person or through an online community. This way, both the buddies can learn from each other, motivate each other, and brush their pronunciation skills constantly.
Good English pronunciation skills can help make your kids smarter, sharper and prep them for further success. Incorporate these tips to improve pronunciation in your kid's daily routine and activities like conversing, listening, reading, singing, etc. and see the results over time. PlanetSpark offers top-notch curriculums based on 21st-century skills for kids on various subjects including English speaking and pronunciation. Book a free trial now!